Even though the word “September” never appeared in any of Shakespeare’s plays (hmm, “October” and “November” never did either), it’s been a great month for Shakespeare-in-education news, with schools in full swing and performing troupes hitting the road. Here’s a look at what you might have missed in your web surfing in the past week.
The British are coming!
One highlight of the fall Shakespeare season for many universities in the U.S. is the arrival of a touring troupe of five British actors toting a small suitcase full of props and costumes and ready to perform an entire play. Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS) has hit the road and as of this writing is in residence at the University of Texas at San Antonio. This year’s play is Much Ado. The actors are in residence for almost a full week at each location, giving workshops and visiting professors’ classes to offer insights. Next stops: Wellesley College, UT Austin, and the University of North Texas. The spring tour will feature Macbeth.
On the road again
Another venerable touring troupe — the crew from Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass. — is hitting the road for its annual fall tour. The group (which travels in a decorated van, like a rock band!) is performing a 90-minute version of Hamlet and its classic piece Language That Shaped a World at schools throughout the New England area. If you leave in that neck of the woods and want to inquire about a visit, check out the company’s website.
A scene from a previous “Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank” event at Shakespeare’s Globe. A new set of free tickets is being offered for the winter production of “Othello.”
A free ticket to the Globe
According to a small news item on the “Putney local website” every state secondary school in Wandsworth (a borough in southwest London) will have the chance to see the Shakespeare Globe’s winter production of Othello, thanks to the annual gift from Deutsche Bank. More than 19,700 free tickets are being offered to students in London and surrounding areas. The Globe’s website has more information on this year’s “Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank” event.
And the winner is…
This year’s “Burbage Award” from the American Shakespeare Center goes to Dr. James Ayres, founder of the Shakespeare at Winedale program at the University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. James Loehlin, performance history scholar and current director of that program (and a former student of Ayres’s!). The award was given last weekend in a special gala at the Blackfriars theater and is named for theater impresario James Burbage, not his actor son, which makes this a trio of Jameses. The Burbage Award is presented annually in September “to honor a person whose work behind the scenes has advanced the enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare for the delight and instruction of the world.” Previous winners have included Patrick Spottiswoode of the Globe Education department and Tina Packer. (Full disclosure: I was a student in the Winedale program and now direct its Outreach program, so I was delighted to see these two great teachers recognized with such a special tribute!)